Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Van Gogh Goes To Morocco!

My demo - Starry Night with palm trees of Morocco.
With great apologies to Vincent Van Gogh and his love for the south of France, I have taken him to Morocco. I think he'd be pleased. I demonstrated drawing with oil pastels on black construction paper. I had fun during my planning period making this sample. It was creative fun making my swirls of starry light.

I had gone over the fact that line "is  a moving point", and today I added the element of shapes. The students had to combine lines and shapes in a drawing of their village under a starry night. It was all very new to them. They know tiles and mosaic; they know decorative carving on ceilings that might have painted sections. However, they know nothing of landscapes and dreamy night skies in lovely France. 

I will post their attempts after they put more layers and detail in their drawings. I have enough oil pastel (donated by a second grade teacher named Gail) for a couple of classes. Then I will be out.  

I told students about Van Gogh. I told them he was a strong Christian, and that's why he had a church in a prominent place in his painting. He was amazed by the night sky, and he wanted to try to capture the sense of light he saw and felt when he looked up at night. I was passionate. I was cheering for Van Gogh in all his starry splendor right here in Morocco. 

One student said other countries could have Christians, but only muslims lived in Morocco. I said they still needed to know to respect other people and allow them to have their own faith. I mentioned that artists of faith express that faith in their work.(It is a similar conversation I have been having with artists in America.) It was a good conversation. 

They had never seen oil pastels before or Starry Night. So, thanks, Van Gogh for a pretty cool painting to bring to Morocco! I pray the children enjoy Van Gogh and Rembrandt and Da Vinci and Monet and many, many more in the days ahead.

My Main Street
I want to share a funny incident that happened a couple of nights ago, but first I want to let you see our donkey cart vendor. He is often outside our apartment, and we are able to buy fruit from him, or just enjoy the crazy charm of a donkey cart coming and going on our main street.

Now onto my funny story. Jill and I were on a long, beach walk after work a couple of nights ago. A stray dog decided to be our best pal. We kept hoping our flea infested friend would forget about us....or lope off to pester someone else. No way; we were fast friends even if we did not want to be. He was a ginger color, so we laughed and thought of calling him gin, short for ginger, but it soon became Gin and Tonic. (What can I say, we were exhausted from work and being silly. We aren't heavy drinkers.) 

Except, there wasn't a second dog, so we had no "tonic". Just after we said that, a second, smaller dog that looked like Gin showed up. That made us laugh out loud with joy! Even though we didn't want to like them, we did. Gin and Tonic walked and walked with us. The funny thing was we were always trying to lose them. Then a strange thing happened. 

We were walking through an area of the beach that some other stray dogs seemed to think they owned. Who do they think they are, we thought. Before we knew it, they were attacking our Gin and Tonic. Jill and I began yelling at the "territorial" dogs. And then, well, something in me, pent up frustration from work? seventh graders?, let loose, and I yelled at the new stray dogs to stop being such bullies and to go away. I demanded they leave "our" dogs alone. Go away, I screamed. 

They did, and then, of course, Gin and Tonic, became loyal to the death to us. Jill and I laughed at ourselves. Yikes. Again, just like our line of beggars, what have we created? We were going to have to say goodbye at the end of the walk. And, yes we did. We saw them standing in the place where our car had been parked wagging their tails goodbye as we drove home that night.

I just feel good I helped here in Morocco....even it is so 2 stray dogs can have a nice, safe walk on the beach one afternoon, protected from bullies. 

And just maybe, in a strange and wonderful way, showing the students a beautiful starry night by a man of faith, just might scare the bullies of their amazing minds and hearts away. Maybe , I opened a window?

"The danger of making a single story of a person or place, the definitive story, is that it robs them of their dignity and flattens our experience."
Chimamanda Adichie 

1 comment:

  1. Great stories and keep opening windows! Lovely Moroccan inspired Van Gogh!